Lean casually.

Lean In, Lean Out

by / / 71 posts

I profess to understand every mannerism and habit of the Cyclist. I’m Dutch, and I’m a writer, so it all comes pretty naturally. The problem is that thinking you understand something and actually understanding it are two completely different things; the first is confidence, the second is wisdom; there is no Venn diagram that has an intersection between the two. As we move inexorably towards 2016, I humbly seek to temper my confidence with a (light) dusting of hubris.

I’ll start off, a full three days shy of 2016, with my first acknowledgement of not understanding why we do certain things: this leaning against stuff rather than unclipping business. When I say “things”, I mean objects like fences, light poles, cars, other riders, small marking wands that under no circumstances can hold the weight of a Cyclist, rubbish bins, traffic cones and any other paraphernalia that looks inviting.

It is an undeniable fact that Eddy looks entirely badass in this photo, leaning away like putting a foot down on the tarmac would be an affront to the soles of his shoes. There is, of course, a good reason for it: he finally got his toe clips and straps sorted just perfectly, and he is not about to start over on that sordid affair just to avoid putting his handprint on the team car. We, the modern Cyclist, have clipless pedals and they are quite easy to sort and there is very little at risk when it comes to unclipping, apart from the humility of making a balls of it and falling over like a twunt.

Which brings me back to this irresistible desire we have to not unclip from our pedals. Twunt Tumbles aside, there is really no good reason for us not to unclip any time we come to a halt, a practice which itself should admittedly be kept to a minimum. Unclipping is a prime opportunity to demonstrate to the world our ability to Wait Properly. But none of us want to do it. We’d rather wobble about in some sort of balancing act as if putting a foot down were admitting defeat to gravity or the coriolis effect or some other such nonsense.

And careful with the car lean, you might just piss off the wrong driver.

// Etiquette // Nostalgia // Technique

  1. Caring what the cagers think of ya?

    Nope, I’ve got caring about how I look all covered by myself!




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  2. @emerson

    @Oli

    Maybe this thread will become focused on pedals.

    I wonder how long a pair of pedals lasted on the Prophet’s bike? To paraphrase Mr. T “I pity the pedal . . . “




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  3. Imagine being Eddy Merckx, he would prefer to change pedals out annually no matter if they were Record or not. Those are not Record in this article photo.




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  4. Perhaps I misidentified those pedals too early.

    Campagnolo Superleggeri Record Pista TT design.




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  5. In Denmark, every potential problem, no matter how subtile, is taken care of by the public welfare system, which also have a department for cyclists. Consequently, a handrail is placed whenever there is a traffic light, -for your convenience……….(lean on (Mø))




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  6. I lived in the city and began cycling in the prehistoric days of toe clips and straps. Frank correctly pointed out that once you the TCs&Ss dialed in you’re loath to undo them. Plus, in the city, having to deal with clips block after block is a nightmare. Hence – Track stands/leaning and riding like a hooligan rather than stop at red light after red light.




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  7. Street furniture to lean against every time when available. I’m the master of the last minute handrail / stop sign button box grab. Even though I love watching a properly executed track stand, I’d rather leave that skill set where it belongs, I.E. – on the track. The benefit/ failure ratio is too heavily weighted for me towards failure…. Make myself look like an utter dick when I keel over, or make myself look like a dick and get clipped by an impatient cager slurping a machiato whilst texting about last night’s “must see” reality tv show…




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  8. @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    So close! We almost made it to 2016 before running out of our vintage 2015 sense of humor!




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  9. @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    Oli, what, exactly, is “fully maing”?




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  10. @sengelov

    In Denmark, every potential problem, no matter how subtile, is taken care of by the public welfare system, which also have a department for cyclists. Consequently, a handrail is placed whenever there is a traffic light, -for your convenience……….(lean on (Mø))

    Yup, unlike the Dutch, we tend to worry more about just getting things right rather than telling everyone how right we think we are…




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  11. @chuckp

    Unclipping and putting your foot down is perhaps the best opportunity to exude casual deliberateness. Isn’t this how we all look when we’re waiting at a stop light?

    Damn straight that’s how I know *I* look.




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  12. @Ron

    I unclip at red lights just to show off my awesomely defined calf to the jealous cagers.

    As for touching cars…gotta love that a New York politician was caught telling a cyclist to, “Find a fucking bike lane and use it!” not long after her politician spouse was caught telling a cyclist he’d kill him if he touched his car again. The cyclist had smacked the car because the politician nearly ran him over.

    What a lovely couple!

    Ah, New York at Christmas!

    @wiscot

    @emerson

    @Oli

    Maybe this thread will become focused on pedals.

    I wonder how long a pair of pedals lasted on the Prophet’s bike? To paraphrase Mr. T “I pity the pedal . . . “

    One shudders at the thought!

    @emerson

    Perhaps I misidentified those pedals too early.

    Campagnolo Superleggeri Record Pista TT design.

    I think they all pretty much rode those Pista pedals. Boy, if I could ever get my hands on a set of those!




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  13. I had to look up both ‘twunt’ and ‘maing’ in the urban dictionary.




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  14. Frank, possibly take Superleggeri pedals on a gravel road?




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  15. @frank

    @Ron

    I unclip at red lights just to show off my awesomely defined calf to the jealous cagers.

    As for touching cars…gotta love that a New York politician was caught telling a cyclist to, “Find a fucking bike lane and use it!” not long after her politician spouse was caught telling a cyclist he’d kill him if he touched his car again. The cyclist had smacked the car because the politician nearly ran him over.

    What a lovely couple!

    Ah, New York at Christmas!

    @wiscot

    @emerson

    @Oli

    Maybe this thread will become focused on pedals.

    I wonder how long a pair of pedals lasted on the Prophet’s bike? To paraphrase Mr. T “I pity the pedal . . . “

    One shudders at the thought!

    @emerson

    Perhaps I misidentified those pedals too early.

    Campagnolo Superleggeri Record Pista TT design.

    I think they all pretty much rode those Pista pedals. Boy, if I could ever get my hands on a set of those!

    You want a set of Pista pedals? I used to ride those at Marymoor…I think my set is still in the garage…




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  16. @frank

    @chuckp

    Unclipping and putting your foot down is perhaps the best opportunity to exude casual deliberateness. Isn’t this how we all look when we’re waiting at a stop light?

    Damn straight that’s how I know *I* look.

    until a combination of sweat & sunscreen cause the elbow to slip off the bars & you look like a total prat (not that I’d be speaking from experience or anything).




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  17. @frank

    @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    So close! We almost made it to 2016 before running out of our vintage 2015 sense of humor!

    This IS my sense of fucking humour.




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  18. lol




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  19. Who the fuck stops at red lights?

    (Courier humour…) Track standing is something, annoyingly, I can do on a commuter/touring bike but not on any of my race bikes. Traffic lights are about timing, as much as anything, and in the absence of track standing ability I’ve mastered the slow roll approach.

    But again, I’m a child of my environment. I’ve never ridden with straps though at a pinch I’ll lean against a pole or parking meter. I sometimes wonder what it’s like to be so very, very, veryveryvery old that you had to ride bikes in the fucking dark ages.




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  20. @minion

    It’s like being grateful to wake up in the morning and still be able to ride a bike son.




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  21. ……or is that grandson………




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  22. @Teocalli

    I may be pushing the boat out a bit far with that one, I’m resolutely middle aged. Hiding behind internet anonymity and all that.

    Unless you’re really fucking old, in which case you could be my grandpa.




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  23. @minion

    ha ha! Though I do remember the Beatles hitting the News in the 60s………




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  24. On the subject of toe clips and straps … My first “serious” bike (Trek 560 Pro w/Reynolds 531 tubing and Shimano 600) had toe clips and straps. Nothing quite like getting them cinched just right. I remember riding it out in Sonoma (visiting my brother). At the time, his house was situated on the side of a hill with a short, really steep driveway. Came back from a ride and forgot to loosen the straps beforehand. Made it up the driveway. Ran out of altitude and airspeed. Nothing to lean against … except the pavement. Just classic.

    Not a pic of my bike, but this is was the bike.




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  25. A quick start from a traffic light requires preparation and attention. Many riders doing track stands (especially older riders) are too distracted by that activity to be ready the moment it’s good to go.

    I do admire a good track stand, but you can almost always use it to judge a rider’s age. Kids under 20 can be absolutely still without paying attention. By 30 a slight wobble is usually apparent. The effort required becomes quite noticeable by 40. Very few of us over 50 even bother trying (and those who do require plenty of room as they’re all over the place).




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  26. Back in college in the toe clip Epoc, we’d lean on one another: the one on the left would rest his hand on the shoulder on the guy to his right, and the guy on the right would put his left hand on the tops of the bars of the guy to his left. Going purely on the metric of beer bottles thrown at us, I would say that rednecks were duly unoffended by the action.

    I unclip now.




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  27. I road my bike to college and all over the city every day for four years and I think not one time did I ever adjust the toe straps. Seriously, not once.

    My daughter might have been nine when we put her on a little 24″ Pinarello in a parking lot outside the LBS. She took off and flipped her pedals around and her feet in to the toe cages/straps like she’d been doing it for years. The LBS owner and I looked at each other and said, yea, she’s ready for the proper road bike. The rest is history. She raced with the toe clips as long as she was on the little Pinarello. And I do not think that once we ever adjusted the straps on that bike either… just flip the pedals around, jam your toes in as far as they’d go and be gone.

    Never, ever thought to reach down and tighten ’em up?! Strange.

    I guess it was the easy in/easy out idea that counted more.

    Remember when toe straps came on Mtn Bikes? That was pointless. They’d be dangling half way thru first ride. And nothing is meant to dangle from a bike btw. Couldn’t resist.

    Cheers all




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  28. Then in cycling, it would be eminently best to avoid traffic lights, stopping, waiting, leaning, judging and aging.

    No! No more talk! No more games! I bring SYZR!

    No civilized roads! Time for dirt! Speedplay SYZR!




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  29. @wiscot

    @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    Oli, what, exactly, is “fully maing”?

    I believe maing is like mad cow disease but its brought on by veg-a mite!




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  30. @The Pressure

    @wiscot

    @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    Oli, what, exactly, is “fully maing”?

    I believe maing is like mad cow disease but its brought on by veg-a mite!

    I think it’s spelled “mange.” Either way, it’s not pleasant . . .




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  31. I hate people who can’t trackstand trying, and either hitting something or falling off or doing the last second desperate unclip.

    OTOH, a good trackstand is the perfect example of casually deliberate. Roll up to the lights, stop right on the line and stay there, preferably seated.




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  32. @The Grande Fondue

    I hate people who can’t trackstand trying, and either hitting something or falling off or doing the last second desperate unclip.

    OTOH, a good trackstand is the perfect example of casually deliberate. Roll up to the lights, stop right on the line and stay there, preferably seated.

    Exactly that, and particularly on uphill intersections where you ride away smoothly while the standard ‘casually deliberate’ crew fight to clip in, weave into curbs, and otherwise make unmerry.




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  33. @The Grande Fondue

    I hate people who can’t trackstand trying, and either hitting something or falling off or doing the last second desperate unclip.

    OTOH, a good trackstand is the perfect example of casually deliberate. Roll up to the lights, stop right on the line and stay there, preferably seated.

    talk me through this seated track stand, it has me intrigued…




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  34. @Oli

    @frank

    @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    So close! We almost made it to 2016 before running out of our vintage 2015 sense of humor!

    This IS my sense of fucking humour.

    Now, where’s that like button?




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  35. @Mikael Liddy

    It’s like a normal trackstand only one remains seated.




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  36. Just so youse know, Robert Forstemann apparently ended up on his arse at London’s revolution track series’ longest lap. Even professional sprinters can screw it up.




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  37. @frank

    @chuckp

    Unclipping and putting your foot down is perhaps the best opportunity to exude casual deliberateness. Isn’t this how we all look when we’re waiting at a stop light?

    Damn straight that’s how I know *I* look.

    But hopefully without the twunting yellow band…




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  38. @Oli

    well, yeah I got that much. Just intrigued to see it performed in the wild.




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  39. For me the bloke with the foot down gets away best, and Chris Hoy only comes over the top up the road.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUF7OSoUSOI

    So unless you’re a eleven-time world champion and six-time Olympic champion you’re better off foot down, and even then it’s not much advantage.




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  40. @Mikael Liddy

    Just give it a go; it’s easy!




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  41. @Oli

    @Mikael Liddy

    Just give it a go; it’s easy!

    He says with a smirk on his face and a go-pro in hand.




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  42. @Barracuda

    No, I promise it’s easy! As I get older and more unco I find it’s much more stable.




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  43. @Oli

    Once you’ve nailed the seated track stand, take off with a wheelie!




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  44. @sthilzy

    Darn it! Dud link – try this




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  45. @Barracuda

    @Oli

    @Mikael Liddy

    Just give it a go; it’s easy!

    He says with a smirk on his face and a go-pro in hand.

    yeah, I’m going to stay with the Wiggo method displayed above (minus the blue/orange argyle & cock ring).




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  46. @emerson

    SYZR! SYZR? Anyone? Anyone?




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  47. @emerson

    look more like spurs you’d put on the bottom of a boot to kick a horse ?? giddy-up




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  48. Invaluable feedback. Rawhide!




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  49. “Hello, my name is Gilly and I’m a leaner.” Now that I’ve got that off my chest, would love to track stand but can’t, I’m always looking for the lamp post, rail etc to lean on, never a car because that’s just fucking inconsiderate. When leaning, my right leg takes the crank arm to 7 o’clock which gives my calf a nice bit of form. Lights change, away double sharpish.




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  50. @Ron

    It’s not exclusive to New York. I was very nearly pancaked by one of our State Assemblymen in California.

    Note to politicians in general: if you’re going to drive like a maniac, don’t do so in a vehicle with plates that indicate what district you represent. (…and by extension, exactly who you are.)




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